In August 2015, I walked into the garden care section of a Springfield, MO, Walmart with a dear friend, intent on bringing a plant back with me to keep in my dorm room. It was senior year, and I was comforted by the prospect of being able to nourish a little bit of green as I began moving towards adulthood with each passing day. A little jade plant stood out to me, tiny and green, nestled in one of those flimsy, black plastic containers. With excitement in my heart, I paid $4 or so, and walked out the door with my own potted plant.
When I got back to my cozy and colorful dorm room, I looked around for something that might work as a makeshift pot. After carefully analyzing my collection of mugs, I decided a transparent glass mug would be my plant’s new abode. I patted down the soil, then poured a little water in the soil, hoping a little spritz might help the jade feel more at home. It took me a little while to get used to a routine of checking the soil and watering the jade – hoping to give it just the water it needed. Also, I experimented with how close or far it liked being from the sun. After time, we seemed to strike the right balance with each other.
* * * * *
Months passed by, til we arrived at college graduation. I was thankful the jade made it with me at least that far. After packing up all my possessions to take back to Chicagoland in our family’s car, I carefully carried my plant in hand, hoping it would make it through the 8-hour journey.
Thankfully it did make it, not only through that journey, but the summer and another 16-hour drive to seminary here in Massachusetts. It adjusted well to this new environment – a little quicker than I expected actually.
As I watered the plant and made sure it saw the sun, I noticed something strange: (1) it had gotten quite large; and (2) its roots had nowhere else to go. But I and it were about to head into uncharted territory: the art of repotting.
I pored over articles about repotting online, coming to the conclusion that (1) I’d need to get a bigger pot; (2) the pot could not be that much bigger than its current mug because anything bigger might send it into shock; (3) it should be transferred to a terra cotta plant; (4) I should water it so thoroughly after its transfer that water ought to drip through the bottom opening of the pot into the tray; (5) it would take a few weeks to recover. (Thanks for this info, WikiHow).
So after knowing what needed to be done, I bought a pot from Michael’s. However, I didn’t have it in me to repot the jade immediately. This may sound silly, but after knowing the stress repotting would have on my beloved plant, I thought I’d let it stay just a little while longer in its confines, letting myself enjoy it should the transplant go poorly and the jade die.
So after a few more weeks of waiting, and then asking some friends to use some potting soil, I sat on the ledge of my bathtub for the big transplant. To be honest, it was awfully anticlimactic. Transferring the plant from one mug to the bigger pot took probably three minutes tops. I spoke sweet words to the jade during the process (like a total nerd), encouraging it to take to its new environment, reminding it that I’d be present for it through the transition (okay, yeah, total nerd). Oh, and sometimes I’ve sung to it, too.
I watered and waited for its transitional weeks, helping it nestle in well to its new home. To my great excitement, its roots began to strengthen (becoming quite beefy), and new sprouts began growing on the ends of each little branch. In the almost-year that has followed the transplantation, I’ve seen incredible growth from this once little, once fragile jade plant. It’s grown strong, confident (can a plant be confident?), and hardy.
* * * * *
We’re getting ready for another move – the jade and I. Only this time, I’m readying for my own repotting. For my own repotting, there’s no helpful WikiHow article (unfortunately). My own repotting feels a lot more abstract; yes, I know where I’m going next and what I’ll be doing – but I know an inevitable time of settling in my new soil awaits. I’m trusting though, just like in repottings past, that my own Gardener is singing sweetly over me (Zephaniah 3:17). I trust that as He waters me, I will not wither, but rather grow strong in an awareness of His sustaining love (Psalm 1:1-3).
* * * * *
I hope you, my friend – whether you’ve just transitioned into a new season, are transitioning out of an old one, or are feeling pretty settled – that you’ll sense the love of the Gardener tending your soul with His life-giving love. That He’ll strengthen your nervous heart, helping you feel strength to be rooted and the confidence to bloom.